- Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! features a new band of unlikely heroes facing impossible odds with a different cast of heroes and Dungeon Master in each episode, with notable players like Seth Green and Patton Oswalt.
- The co-creators of Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! discuss collaborating with Matthew Lillard, Wizards of the Coast, eOne, and the importance of the live audience in creating a unique and entertaining experience.
- The co-creators share their favorite monsters in the series, including the titular Purple Worm and Orcus.
The Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures FAST channel, available on Amazon Freevee, and Plex launches this week with three new series, including Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! This comedic take on Dungeons & Dragons battles introduces a new band of heroes who take on some of the most dangerous monsters there are. However, these aren’t the heroes one might expect as level one players; they are facing impossible odds that they are unable to beat.
Each episode features a new group of heroes played by a different cast, with the story led by a new Dungeon Master. Some of the players on Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! include Aabria Iyengar, Seth Green, Anjali Bhimani, Skeet Ulrich, Sean Gunn, Mica Burton, Patton Oswalt, and series co-creator Matthew Lillard. The series was created by Beadle and Grimm’s founders Bill Rehor, Jon Ciccolini, Charlie Rehor, Paul Shapiro, and Lillard.
Screen Rant exclusively interviewed Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! co-creators Bill Rehor, Jon Ciccolini, Charlie Rehor, and Paul Shapiro. They each reveal their favorite Dungeons & Dragons monster in the series, tease exciting episodes to come, and explain the importance of the live audience. Bill Rehor also explains his role as the host of Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!, and Ciccolini discusses setting the tone as the first Dungeon Master.
Bill Rehor, Jon Ciccolini, Charlie Rehor, and Paul Shapiro On Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!
Screen Rant: I love the show. It is somehow hilarious and devastating at the same time. Can talk to me about collaborating with Matthew Lillard, Wizards of the Coast and eOne to bring this show into fruition? Because it’s unlike, I think, any other actual play I’ve ever seen.
Bill Rehor: So, Matthew Lillard is one of the five founding members of Beadle and Grimm’s. We’ve known him since we were 21 year old acting school students. We all went to acting school together in New York, except for Charlie, who was off in a writing program in New Orleans. But that’s how we all got to know each other and we’ve been doing creative things together for many, many years. So this evolving as something with Matt was very natural and very much part of the evolution of Beadle and Grimm’ss into trying to find new ways of growing the company, touching new audiences, and sort of expanding the way that we share Dungeons & Dragons with the community.
From there we are licensees of Wizards of the Coast. So we had a real blessing there that we were able to go with this idea to them directly. We couldn’t do it without them. It’s so integrally a D&D event. So very fortunate that the timing just sort of lined up that we came out with this idea. And they said, Oh, you know what? We actually happen to be looking for things like that right now. Because unbeknownst to us, they had this plan for this channel. There are two other original shows, Encounter Party and Heroes’ Feast that they’re doing as well. The three of us all came into this together, and we’re all sort of figuring it out as we go.
Jon, can you tell me a little bit about your approach as a GM knowing you have this very small amount of time to create kind of a full story and kill off all your players?
Jon Ciccolini: Yeah. You’re absolutely right, that you have a very small amount of time with this show in order to establish the tone. One of our North stars was to try to get to the player introductions as soon as possible, because they’re really the stars of the show. Right? So I tried to keep, wherever possible, I tried to keep my explanation of where we are, and what the quest is as short and concise as possible. So that we can get right into who the players are, and allow them to start playing as quickly as possible.
Very fun. And then Bill, I love your role in this because you are the host, but you also consistently have surprises up your sleeve for both the audience and the players. Can you talk to me a little bit about that aspect of it as well?
Bill Rehor: Yeah, sure. One of the things we thought a lot about is what changes would be helpful in moving a game from your living room to a more performative sort of venue like this. What is the difference when you introduce an audience? And one of the things we thought a lot about is that when a DM is hosting a live show, or a show that has an audience, it puts an awful lot of pressure on them. Because they’re trying to run the game, they’re trying to entertain their players, engage their players, and tell a story.
And so we just thought it would be helpful to have that other dynamic of having another person up there who could sort of handle the audience interaction. And then once we had that, we realized that there was a lot of fun stuff we could do with it. A lot of our early testing of the game was, let’s see how much we can engage with the audience. Let’s see how involved we can get them. What kind of curveballs we can throw the players by bringing things in from the audience. Paul, or Charlie, you guys want to talk about the Guild Hall stuff a little bit?
Paul Shapiro: Yeah. So I think one of the things that we really learned early on, was to Bill’s point, as a performance, there’s a tendency for people to plan ahead. Right? Whether it’s the DM planning how things are gonna go or the performers sort of figuring out, Well, this is what I’m going to do. And one of the things we learned is that having opportunities to throw curveballs, to get people out of their comfort zone or try something new, kept it fun. It kept people from doing what they thought they should do, and instead just focused on being in the moment and having fun.
Which is really what’s fun about the game when you’re just at home, playing by yourself. So at Guild Hall, having that live audience, having those interactions, having people throw out suggestions, or throw out ideas, and forcing everybody at the table, the DM and the players, to shift or change or to come up with a new idea within the framework of the of the encounter, turned out to be hugely valuable and really became the special sauce of the show. Which was about how do we keep people having fun, and just a little off balance?
Charlie Rehor: Yeah, it gives the audience power. Which is normally a terrible idea, but it actually works out really well for us.
Bill Rehor: And just to clarify, Guild Hall is a bar in the valley, here in Los Angeles, who were good enough to host a number of small sort of test events, before we actually started taping the show. We would play in this very small little gaming bar. And it allowed us a lot of opportunity to just test out ideas, try to break the system and, see where we could go with it.
I know. I’ve actually been to Guild Hall.
Bill Rehor: go. Oh, you have? Oh, fantastic! Yeah, they were awesome. And it was such an essential part of the process for us to be able to test drive it a few times in that venue with the ability to fail miserably, pick up, and start again.
Paul Shapiro: That was really the place where we realized that the show… We always liked the show and we thought it would work, but that was the first time that we really saw that it actually works. It’s actually in front of a live audience, it’s fun. People have a great time. The players have a great time. Everything that we had thought or hoped would work did.
Charlie Rehor: Not everything we hoped would work did. We got to find out what did and didn’t work.
Paul Shapiro: Right. Right. Even when things didn’t work everybody still had fun. It didn’t sort of grind to a painful halt.
Bill Rehor: Yeah, and here’s the Jedi mind trick that we we played on the producers. I don’t think they’ll mind me saying this. So, when when we first talked to them about it, and we were building out budgets, very early on, they said, I don’t think we’re going to be able to do a live audience for this show. And we said, Okay, we understand. And then we started doing these live shows at Guild Hall. I think the first game, there were six people there and then the next game, there were, like, 15 people there.
We did it six times and by the last one, we had completely packed the house. That was the one we invited the producers to. So they could see what it was like in front of a live audience. To their credit, the moment they saw what it looked like in front of a live audience, what the live audience added to the show, and to the energy of it, they immediately said Yep, we get it. We’re definitely having a live audience, whatever we have to do. Really grateful to them for coming out and being willing to go along with that. I know it was difficult for them, but it made such a difference for us.
Yeah, the live audience interaction is like nothing I’ve ever seen and brings such a cool, chaotic energy to it. But I want to touch on something you said. Did you shoot this in six days?
Bill Rehor: Oh, seven days. Six days would be impossible.
Charlie Rehor: Six days is way too quickly.
Bill Rehor: Yeah, Charlie, you want to talk about that a little bit? Yeah.
Charlie Rehor: Yeah, so math that was two the first day and three every day after that. Well, for me, personally, I’d never done anything like that. I think these guys have done a lot more of this stuff than I have. So to me, it was a horror and I’m hardly in it. Bill had to suit up and go to war every hour for seven days as the host. It’s super fun.
I’ve heard really long running shows is like being in a submarine for X number of days forever shoot, and it really kind of was. We left pretty late, showed up very early, but it was awesome. Because all the people we worked with all the guests we had, all the cast, and crew. Everybody was just amazingly great. Especially once we did one of these, and everybody saw how it was going, everybody just got more excited for the next one. I see how you could get addicted to that sort of thing.
Paul Shapiro: One of the challenges because they were so fast. We would do a show and we literally have 45 minutes to prepare for the next one. One of the things that was challenging and sort of forced us to really stay focused was trying to take what we learned from one show, and apply it to the next. Because every show we learned something. Right?
We learned a lot doing the live shows at Guild Hall, but as soon as we started doing them in the studio we would learn something new about working with the audience, the cast, or how the DM should start. It was good that there’s five of us in the company and there were never more than two or three of us in any one show. There’s always one or two people who could sit back, watch, and take notes or sit in the booth.
And then in that sort of 45 minutes or an hour between shows, we would have to run around, scramble, and say Hey, guys, we just learned we can’t do this. So do this instead. We would change how a prop worked or anything like that, but that was added to both the stress and the excitement of it. It did actually end up making every episode better as we went. We learned more they got better, we had more fun, the audience had more fun, and it was great.
I already was so impressed by the show. I binged all the episodes in a day, and now I can’t even imagine how you guys did it.
Bill Rehor: If anybody questions whether or not Jon and I were improvising some of the stuff that we do, I promise you we never had time to plan anything out. We would get off of this set for one show and then grab something to eat, get together, and go, Okay, what’s the basic idea of this? Okay, fine.
I love it. And then one of the things that’s so cool about the shows we get to see these big bad monsters in every single episode. Do each of you have a favorite monster that’s featured in the show?
Jon Ciccolini: I’m tempted to pick one of my monsters, but it’s not the one that first came to mind. The one that first came to mind was oh, and I don’t know, maybe I guess I can spoil this, but in one of the episodes, Orcus arrives. And they use the use of Orcus in that game. It was just, I remember tears coming down as I was laughing at that how the DM introduced Orcus to this group. How they interacted with him. That had to be one of my favorite.
Paul Shapiro: No, no, no, I said Marcus. My name is-
Bill Rehor: He’s this giant demon, but he keeps insisting his name is Marcus, not Orcus.
Charlie Rehor: Just in case you need any proof that we were making things up as we went. That episode is patient zero for that. So so funny.
Bill Rehor: Myself, I love the Tiamat episode. That’s one of those monsters that I remember from the 80s when I was growing up with this game, because I’m very old. And it’s so crazy powerful that probably most people have never played a game that actually involves Tiamat. So it was awesome to see her coming out of the sky and devouring the party with impunity.
Jon Ciccolini: You’re not supposed to spill that bill.
Bill Rehor: What that they die in the end?
Charlie Rehor: They’re all first level characters. They have a chance.
Paul Shapiro: I think my favorite monster ended up being an incredibly chaotic episode, even more so than most, was the episode in which the monster was a Solar. So a good angel. And all the heroes were evil rogues. Jared Logan DM’d it. He did an amazing job. It’s a hysterical and somewhat troubling episode. But I still remember the moments at the end when the Solar, blind justice, exacts his special form of that.
Charlie Rehor: Well, if no one else is gonna say it. The purple worm is kind of my favorite.
Bill Rehor: Interesting. Well done. Really, really reaching for that one, huh?
Charlie Rehor: Yeah. We’ve got two episodes like that, where the monster is somewhat surprising. I think no spoilers for the other one, because that one’s too good. But that’s one of my favorites. It’s good.
I love it. Well, the show is so much fun. I can’t wait to watch every single episode. And I can’t wait for more people to watch it. I was curious about the casting process. Because it’s such a cool combination of people that are on a lot of TTRPG actual plays and then actors. What was that like? Especially figuring out the right chemistry for each table?
Bill Rehor: Yeah, there are a lot of steps to it. One thing that I think we embraced early on is because they’re first level characters and because it’s only going to last an hour because you are going to die. It is a great venue for people who aren’t hardcore gamers to give it a try. So, Skeet Ulrich, for example, I don’t think has ever played a role playing game before. But came in was really excited to give it a shot, was fantastic, and hilarious. So that was part of it.
We wanted to have a nice mix of people who are known in the gaming community, that people would be excited to see because they’re part of the community, and then also some people that people would be excited to see because they’ve never imagined that person played a role playing game before. It’s fun to watch. I’ll let somebody else talk about this, but I think the diversity of the voices, the players, DMs, and the stories that they tell, I think, is also was a huge priority for us. And I think comes through really well.
Paul Shapiro: Yeah, just to that, one of the things that really excited us about the show beyond just the fun of the first level adventurers being killed, is we loved the fact that the format required us to get more and more and more people. That we couldn’t just pick our four or five favorite role players and watch them. We had to go out and we had to find people. What it allowed us to do both performers and DMS. Right?
Because as much as we love having Jon DM we knew we didn’t want the same DM to run all the games. We wanted them to be different. And so by being able to have different DMs, different casts, and bring them together, we were able to tell not only tell so many different stories, but so many different stories in so many different ways. I think one of the things that was exciting to us and we didn’t really realize fully until we started seeing it is how different the game can be while still being the same game.
It just showed the breadth of what a role playing game can be, who can do it, how it can be done, and what the voices are. The episode that starts with home decorating, the episode that starts with evil rogues, and the episode that starts like a fairy tale. All of those were also different. Ghe DMs and the actors all brought so much of themselves to it. For us, that I think, we knew we wanted that. We were amazed at just how rich that sort of tapestry ended up being.
About Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!
“Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!” serves up comedic mayhem with tabletop gaming stars and celebrity guest players, including Seth Green, Anjali Bhimani, Skeet Ulrich, Sean Gunn, Mica Burton, Patton Oswalt and series co-creator Matthew Lillard. Perfect for seasoned gamers and newbies alike, every episode features an improvised, stand-alone story along with epic, hilarious character deaths.
Check out our other Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! interview with Matthew Lillard.
Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! debuts tonight on the Dungeons & Dragons Adventures channel on Amazon Freevee and Plex 6PM PST and 9PM PST.
Source: Screen Rant Plus